Our first adventure in the Portland area was to the Columbia River Gorge. The Columbia River is the great river of the Pacific Northwest. It is the only river that passes through the Cascade Mountain Range. It drains a huge area including major portions of the rugged mountainous States of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho and parts of Montana, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming and the Province of British Columbia, Canada. And as you can see on the map to the right, all that water, and at one time huge torrents from the melting of glaciers from the end of the last ice age, had to cut through somewhere and that one little outlet area east of the city of Portland is where it cut through the rugged Cascade Mountains. The Gorge is up to 4,000 feet deep and runs about 80 miles in length.
Such a majestic river and the canyon it has cut produce a lot of sights including the canyon and many waterfalls. There are rain forests of lush greenery as you wind your way along the Historic Columbia River Highway built in the earlier1900s.
Another stop was at the Bonneville Dam where we had a look at the fish ladder system that allows salmon to swim up to the headwaters of the Columbia to spawn.
There are window walls in the Visitor’s Center where the salmon and other fish ugly looking lampreys swim by (or stay stuck on the glass in the lampreys case).